Role of the institutional animal care and use committee in monitoring research

Ethics and Behavior 7 (2):173 – 184 (1997)

Abstract

During the 1980s, federal regulations transferred significant portions of the responsibility for monitoring the care and use of research animals from animal care programs to Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs). After a brief review of the history of the regulation of the use of animals in research preceding and during the 4 decades following World War 11, this article raises 4 problems associated with the role IACUCs currently play in monitoring the use of animals in research: (a) lack of expertise, (b) diverted resources, (c) conflict of interest, and (d) restrictions of academic freedom. It is concluded that the care and treatment of animals used in research would be served better and organized more rationally if the day-to-day responsibilities for approving projects and caring for animals were separated more clearly from broader, oversight functions, with the former being assigned to animal care programs and the latter to IACUCs.

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